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The last edition of Cheryl’s Specials had an interview with a former signee of Elton’s old record company. Another Rocket Records act was Jimmie’s Chicken Shack.

The group has been managed by Richard James Burgess since the mid nineties, but they originally attracted the attention of Rocket’s Todd Interland and John Cannelli. Burgess and the band’s vocalist, Jimmie Haha, answered a few questions from EJW about the good old days.

 EJW: How many releases did the label put out?
RB: It’s complicated. They did two under their contract: Pushing the Salmonella Envelope and Bring Your Own Stereo. The first was on Rocket/Island, but some of the singles were on Rocket/A&M (things kept changing at Polygram). Then the Universal/Polygram merger happened and the second album came out on Island Def Jam because they ended the deal with Rocket. 
EJW: Did they meet personally with Elton?
RB: Yes, many times. He was very interested in the group and we went to several of his concerts. They knew John Reid as well.
JH: It was a good time and we appreciated Elton’s input and support. He is an incredible musician and he has always stayed up to speed with what is going on.
I think Jimmie’s Chicken Shack was a bit outside of his personal taste and experience, but he was still very supportive.

EJW: What, if anything, did they learn from their time at Rocket Records
RB: Honestly, they learned how difficult the politics of major labels can be. The fact that Polygram kept moving the label around was confusing and I think, hurt their commercial success. They always felt great toward Rocket, Todd, John, and Elton, though. 
EJW: Has the music changed from the ”Rocket” days? How about the lineup?
RB: You would still recognise their music today. Only Jimi remains from the original band. The first guitar player left just before ‘PTSE’ came out. The drummer left about a year or two later, and then the bass player another year or two after that. The lineup today is very strong and original band members are all friends and sometimes they all get up onstage at gigs, and it is quite a reunion!

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